A mob on Sunday evening torched an ambulance in Imphal’s Iroisemba area, leading to multiple deaths, the Manipur Police told Scroll. The authorities, however, were not able to state the exact number of fatalities.
An officer at the Lamphel police station under whose jurisdiction the attack took place said that the ambulance was ferrying people from Phayeng, a village around 10 kilometers westwards.
According to the officer, the mob comprised people from the neighbouring Meitei localities.
The police officer said that the identity of the victims could not be ascertained. “We don’t know how many people died because it [the ambulance] was completely burnt down and all we could recover was a couple of bones,” he said.
He added that no arrests have been made in the case so far. “It is an unknown mob that is the problem,” the officer said.
Manipur has witnessed ethnic clashes between Meiteis and Kukis since May 3 that have left at least 98 persons dead, over 300 injured and thousands displaced.
The violence first broke out after thousands of people participated in a protest march to oppose the demand of the Meiteis to be included in the Scheduled Tribes category.
The protestors included the Kukis, one of the larger tribal communities in Manipur. For months now, they have been at loggerheads with the state government, and, in particular with Chief Minister N Biren Singh, who the community claims harbours Meitei “majoritarian” sentiments.
On Sunday, the Centre appointed a three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court Ajai Lamba to investigate the violence. Besides Lamba, the committee comprises retired Indian Administrative Services officer Himanshu Shekhar Das, and retired Indian Police Service officer Aloka Prabhakar.